Friday, January 30, 2015

Choose the Perfect Venue for Your Wedding

Today, Stephanie from Canadian event planning website, EventSource, shares her insight on choosing your perfect wedding venue. Some great tips here if you're still looking around!
Congratulations, you're getting married! Now is the perfect time to start making plans. You never want to wait until the last minute. You'll soon realize that one of the most important aspects of planning the big event is choosing the perfect wedding venue.
Unfortunately, this task is typically not as easy as you might think. Why? There are a great many available options to choose from. The following information is meant to help you decide where to have your wedding. Once the decision is made, the rest of the planning process is much easier.
Choosing a Setting
The first step is to decide on a setting for the wedding. The location, atmosphere, and theme are big parts of the event. Knowing what sort of venue to look for, in the first place, makes it much easier to find suitable places.
Information for halls, churches, ballrooms, parks and all kinds of creative venues can be found on the Internet. If you’re planning on a church wedding be sure to look in to reception halls near the church. Find several that seem to fit with the theme and make a list, including contact information and notes on your first impression. That way, you can visit more than one and find a location that’s a perfect fit. Be sure to schedule a walk-through so that you can see the venue in person before making your decision.
Determining Spatial Needs
Are you having a large wedding with many people? Maybe you prefer a small gathering. It is important to keep in mind how many guests will be attending, when looking for a venue. Most venues have helpful information about their building capacity. Setting out tables and chairs to get an idea of what it will look like and to see how comfortably seated your guests will be is recommended.
The staff that you’ll be interacting with when choosing a venue are very accommodating and they want your experience to be the best, so don’t be shy about asking questions. If you’re feeling uneasy, having a little more space than what is needed might be the route you want to take in case of last minute changes.   
Visiting Venues
Before visiting the venues on your list, make a checklist of questions to ask at each one. No question is too big or small. These are a few examples:
  • Does the venue offer wedding packages?
  • Does the rental fee cover tables and chairs?
  • Is catering provided?
  • Will there be a coordinator or a crew to set-up?
Keeping this checklist with you as you visit each venue will make sure that you know everything you need to know about each one. If you take notes on each of these questions during your visit, it can help to compare them afterward.
The visit is also your chance to make sure the style of the venue suits you. Changing the whole interior style could be costly and time-consuming. If the style already matches the wedding decorations and attire, a few simple changes could lead to perfection. Also, be sure to check the venue’s policy on decorations, especially in the case of a traditional church wedding.
During your visit, be sure to look into any other aspects of the venue that will affect your decision. Make sure that there is enough parking, and that the accessibility needs of all of your guests can be met. If the wedding is planned for an outdoor area, ask about what will happen in case of bad weather.
Make sure that the venue’s tables, chairs, glassware and cutlery are to your liking. Check into the venue’s policy about noise, especially if you plan on live music or a DJ at the reception. There will be a lot to cover, but having your checklist with you will help you explore your options while having a good time.  
Narrowing Things Down
Take it easy and don’t overwhelm yourself. This is a special day and stress can affect the outcome. A pros and cons list of each venue will help you to choose the best venue that suits your needs. It is important that you are happy with every aspect of your venue.
  • Is it affordable and within your budget?
  • Is the location convenient for you and your guests?
  • Is it what you envisioned your wedding to look like?
  • Is there enough seating and space for you and your guests to feel comfortable?  
These are all questions you should ask yourself and your partner and be absolutely certain of before you make your final decision.
Remember, there's absolutely no reason to panic when choosing the perfect venue for your wedding. The most important thing is to take the time to actually enjoy the task at hand. Don't rush. Rushing only causes stress. Before you know it, all plans will be in place and you can look forward to the spectacular event.
Stephanie has spent years expanding her knowledge and passion in the photography, event and wedding industry. She now works for EventSource, a Canadian website that caters to all of your event planning needs. For more information connect with Eventsource on Facebook , Twitter , and Pinterest 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

You May Want to Reconsider Your Wedding Vendor If...

Having a good working relationship with your wedding vendors is crucial not only for the success of your wedding day experience, but also for your emotional well-being. Choosing the right people to work with isn't always easy. Popularity and positive reviews are one thing, but if you don't click, you don't click. How do you know? It may come down to different things for different people, but if your potential wedding vendors do any of the following, you may want to reconsider:
Have Their Own Ideas- This is your wedding and you want to make sure your voice is heard. It's one thing for a vendor to make a suggestion or let you know the advantages and disadvantages of a wedding day decision, but ultimately you want to create your wedding day vision. If they have their own agenda and don't seem to hear what you're wanting, you're not on the same page. Start looking for a professional who values your dreams and will help you make them a reality.
Make You Feel Bad- Everybody has a different style of communication. Some people are soft spoken, others are more aggressive. Some use humor and others sarcasm. How you respond to different communication styles is an important factor that will help you determine if you want to work with someone or not. Body language counts too. Folded arms, communication tone, and even a comment like, "You seriously want that at your wedding" can make you feel bad or start second guessing yourself. If at any point during your talks, you start to have a bad feeling in the pit of your stomach, cut ties and find someone else to work with.
Do All the Talking- Sure. They're the experts. But that doesn't mean you can't get a word in edge wise. You want to work with wedding professionals who are good listeners. It means they are trying to understand your needs and wants for the big day. Talking too much can be a sign of nervousness or inadequacy and rambling on is their way of trying to impress you. But be careful. Some people simply like to talk and are very social. If there's a lot of talking going on, but you feel like you're being heard, you're probably okay. If not, you may want to interview some alternative people. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Why It's Important to Have a Pre and Post Wedding Rainy Day Fund

Money is one of the biggest stressors when it comes to planning a wedding. It's also a major issue after marriage. That said, you'll want to make certain that you and your partner have a rainy day fund set in place. It's a good idea to begin saving even before you're married (hey, things can happen at any point in life). But if you've already tied the knot, sit down and discuss how to fund your rainy day account.
Why is it so important? You might think stashing cash in a rainy day account isn't important, but it's a necessary component to your financial freedom and peace of mind. Life happens. Think car repairs, loss of employment, moving expenses, or medical bills. These things happen. Having a financial cushion to fall back on is one little way to help reduce your stress. Most financial experts suggest having at least six months of living expenses in your rainy day account. This is particularly important if you are leaving your job and will be looking for a new source of income after you get married.
Now, you've saved money for your wedding, isn't that enough? No, that's money you've allotted to your wedding planning needs. You must have a separate account and it must be accessible. Your rainy day account is not your retirement fund, CDs, or your checking account. If you and your spouse are just starting out, figure out ways to save in a separate account. You can collect all your spare change and deposit it at the end of the week. Tax returns, monetary gifts, or bonuses from work are other good ways to fund your account. Some banks and debit cards will automatically round up amounts you spend and deposit it into an account. There are lots of creative ways to save some extra money. The hard part is not spending it. 
Save yourself financial stress now and in the future by getting a jump on your rainy day account. Do what you can, even if it's a small amount initially. Be disciplined, have a routine, or make it automatic. This is a great way to start your marriage off on the right financial footing.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Throw Away Your Wedding Planning Guilt

Guilt. We all have it. It's that nagging feeling you get inside when you think you've done or said something wrong. You feel like you've compromised your beliefs or standards, which may or may not be true. It happens. And it's bound to rear it's ugly head while you plan your wedding too. Don't let it get the best of you.
Planning a wedding is a highly emotional period. You'll be talking to many people and making more decisions than you probably anticipated. A guilty conscience is inevitable at some point. If something you did or said is getting under your skin, take a closer look at it. What's making you uncomfortable? Journal about it if you have to. Are you feeling guilty about not inviting a friend to your wedding? Do you feel bad because you turned down your cousin's offer to be your wedding photographer? Or maybe you feel guilty because you decided against a bachelorette party, much to the dismay of your friends.
First and foremost, do what feels right and comfortable for you. You're the bride and you shouldn't feel pressured into having a party you don't want. You certainly shouldn't accept an offer to help out at the wedding if you're not certain of someone's skills or abilities. Go with your gut and then toss the guilt out the window! It might be helpful to imagine what you would think of your decisions 20 years from now. If an older, wiser you feels bad for not inviting someone, you might want to reconsider.  
Remember that you cannot please everybody. And that's okay. There are too many people involved in planning a wedding for everyone to be happy. Trying to accommodate everyone and everything will leave you feeling frustrated and stressed out. If you're getting to that point, say "Goodbye, guilt. This is my happy time."

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Ups and Downs of Being a Newlywed

If you are getting married soon or just got married, you're about to enter what might be the most exciting time of your life. It might also be the most trying. And I'm here to let you know that it's all good and natural.
Let's start with the ups. When you're a newlywed, you're in a state of bliss. It's such a happy time. You've found the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. It's a time where you can focus on each other and building your relationship together. If it's just the two of you and no kids around yet, it gives you more freedom to go out more, continue to date, and share more intimate moments. You'll begin forming routines and starting new traditions together. It's great fun to think of how you, as a couple, plan on entertaining friends and family or decide to celebrate the holidays. Your wedding day memories are ever present in your mind and it still feels like you're on your honeymoon. Being a newlywed is about beginnings. And that's a great thing. Starting fresh with your partner in life! 
Of course, with all the ups there must be some downs too. Change isn't easy. And living with someone other than yourself isn't either. If you weren't living together before the wedding, chances are you're learning a whole lot more about your spouse. From habits to pet peeves, you'll find some little quirks adoring and others annoying. As with all changes, there's going to be a learning curve. The two of you will need to find ways to express yourselves and communicate your needs, hopes, and wishes. It won't be easy. There might be disagreements, misunderstandings, and even some eye rolling. The good news is most of it is normal. But you have to put in as much effort during the down times as you do during the blissful moments. Strengthening your relationship early on will help you learn how to weather other stressors that might come along in the years ahead. And that's the foundation for a rock solid marriage.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

7 Tips for Beauty Bridal Sleep

Sleep. It's probably one of the last things on your mind as you're busy planning for your wedding. But it's important. A good night's sleep helps you function and have more energy to get everything on your to-do list done. If you're having trouble getting a good night of zzzz's try these tips from the National Sleep Foundation:
1) Create a Sleep Schedule- Give yourself a bedtime and stick to it. If 10:00pm seems like the right time for you to hit the hay, make sure you go to bed at that time every night. It helps train your body to prepare for sleep at that time, which will make it easier for you to fall asleep.
2) Exercise- Getting a good workout in during the day is important to help you burn off unhealthy stress. It also contributes to a better sleep once night time rolls around. Just make sure your exercise routine is 5-6 hours before your bedtime or you might be too energized to sleep.
3) Avoid Caffeine, Alcohol, and Nicotine- If you love your coffee, drink alcohol daily, or smoke cigarettes, it could be robbing you of necessary deep and REM sleep. People who consume these things tend to sleep lighter and wake earlier because of withdrawal. If you want better sleep, it might be time to kick a the habit.
4) Relax- find ways to quiet your mind before bed. Turn off all distractions and take a warm bath, meditate, or listen to soothing music. Whatever you choose, relaxation definitely helps put you in a sleepy state of mind.
5) Sleep until Sunlight- Waking up with the sun or other bright light helps your body adjust to the daylight and helps your internal biological clock reset itself. This makes is easier to get up and start your day.    
6) Don't Lie in Bed Awake- If you find yourself awake in bed and unable to fall asleep, get up and do something. Anxiety can contribute to insomnia, so it might be better to find something to do until you start feeling sleepy.  
7) Check Your Room Temperature- If your bedroom is too hot or too cold it may be keeping you up at night. Make sure your bedroom is the right temperature for you so you can get a healthy night's sleep.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Day of Wedding Coordinator: Who They Are and Why You Need One

I am excited to share this insightful guest post from Chicago event planner, La Toya Keys of Elle Kay Events. If you're still unsure about hiring a day of wedding coordinator, read on to learn how much they do and how beneficial they can be for you on your big day.
You have spent countless hours planning your big day. You have organized every little detail and the wedding party is well prepped for their roles. Now, who will ensure that everything runs smoothly as you planned? Many brides-to-be create more stress on their wedding day by not hiring a day of coordinator, don’t be that bride. 
Benefits of a Day of Coordinator: 
1. Have a stress free day: A day of coordinator will manage your wedding day from start to finish and allow you to enjoy your big day stress free. This should be a person (or team) who is well organized, detail orientated and easily adaptable. A day of coordinator should not be your mom, sister or close friend. Those individuals want to enjoy your day just as much as you do – why take that away from them? Let a professional handle your day.  
2. Coordinators from the ceremony and reception venue are not day of coordinators: Many ceremony and reception venues have coordinators who work for the venue, not for you. Those coordinators are there to monitor usage of the facility. They will not be sure that your mom enjoys the day or that the groomsmen pin their boutonnieres on correctly. Most coordinators do not stay in the room during the ceremony or reception. Their goal is to keep everyone safe and to make sure the wedding runs according to the contract time.
 3. Manage the details: Typically you will initially meet with your day of coordinator 6 months prior to your wedding day. During this meeting, and several meetings leading up to your wedding day, you will discuss every detail of your wedding and review all contracts from vendors. A professional day of coordinator, who is experienced with weddings, will understand the importance of every detail and ensure that vendors adhere to the contract.  A plus to having a day of wedding planner will be their back-up plan. If something doesn’t go as planned or if there needs to be a slight adjustment, your day of coordinator will have a prepared and organized back-up plan ready to put into action.
Still not sure you need a day of wedding coordinator? Below is a short list of duties a wedding planner will complete:
  • Organize your wedding day
  • Design your wedding day logistics and itinerary
  • Confirm with vendors prior to wedding
  • Attend and conduct your wedding rehearsal
  • Supervise ceremony and reception set-up and breakdown
  • Instruct ushers and hostess of duties
  • Assist bridesmaids and groomsmen with dressing
  • Organize processional line-up
  • Assist guest and wedding party with ceremony transition to reception venue
  • Act as liaison between catering staff, M.C., photographer, and videographer
  • Deliver final payment to vendors
  • Supervise reception
Don’t miss out on your big day by worrying about the details and logistic of the day. If a wedding planner doesn't fit in your budget, hiring a day of wedding coordinator will help you and your wedding guests enjoy your big day.
La Toya Keys is the creative mind behind Elle Kay Events, a Chicago based event planning company that specializes in weddings and celebratory events. La Toya creatively and tactfully draws out each client’s likes, hobbies, and interests, and uses these characteristics to create a memorable event. Contact info: | Twitter @ElleKayEvents Instagram @ElleKayEvents | Phone: 773-230-4423 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A Bride's Quick Guide to Staying Motivated as She Plans Her Wedding

You have your 2015 goals lined up and ready to go, with planning your wedding at the top of the list. You're ready to tackle your to-dos head on. The first couple days you find yourself ahead of schedule. Fantastic! But as the days and weeks go by, you find your motivation slipping and begin thinking it's impossible to get everything done. What's the cure? How do you stay focused and pumped when it comes to your goals? Here's a quick guide:
  • Keep It in Front of You: Having your goals in the forefront of your mind is as simple as posting them somewhere you look regularly, like your bathroom mirror or refrigerator door. But it's not only about what those goals are, it's also about the inspiration behind them. Include inspiring quotes or other motivating words next to your goals to keep you excited about them!
  • Be Realistic: Sometimes smaller is better. Don't give yourself tasks that you know you can't accomplish. Break things down into smaller parts and do a little bit. Doing a little something is better than nothing at all, which can happen if the task at hands seems unmanageable. Celebrate all your accomplishments! It will help you stay motivated and moving forward.
  • Write Out Your Strengths: Start journaling about all your positive qualities, abilities and strengths. Recognizing where you shine is a great way to remind yourself that you have tools you can use to get stuff done. Whether it's being super organized or crafty and creative, you can use those skills and many others when it comes to planning your wedding. You may even want to start on a task that utilizes your talents. You'll find it more fun and will likely be quicker to get some things crossed off your list early on. 
  • Look at Your Past: There have been plenty of things you've been successful at in the past. Think graduating university, tackling a difficult project, or moving up in the ranks at your job. By remembering personal successes in your life, you're more likely to keep yourself motivated without feelings of doubt. If you were successful in the past, you can do it again! 
  • Get Support: Everything is more fun and exciting when you have people cheering you on. Create a bridal brigade consisting of close friends or family who are as excited as you and who want to help. Find ways they can help you stay happy and inspired. Then celebrate your successes together, with a fun get together or night out. Just ne more reason to stay on track.
What motivates you? We'd love to hear your thoughts on what keeps you going!